• Price: 1299

  • Company: ACi

  • Our Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

On paper, the Sovereign Pro looks like a powerful bargain laptop. Based around ATI’s powerful Mobile Radeon 9600 graphics chip and a large 15.1-inch screen, this notebook boasts a desktop processor, a large hard drive, FireWire, USB 2.0, and wireless networking for just under thirteen hundred quid. However, it’s just not powerful enough for the needs of many creative professionals.

The inclusion of the Radeon 9600 chip at this price is impressive. Its Cinebench Open GL hardware lighting score of 1949 is higher than some 3D workstations. However, this score is bolstered by the screen’s native display resolution of 1,400-x-1,050.

The Cinebench score promotes this machine for 3D creatives, but the 2.8GHz processor isn’t Hyper-Threading enabled, so rendering is much slower than you’d like. The 2.8GHz processor rendered up to 20 per cent slower than other systems with 2.8GHz processors that we’ve seen. Video and image processing was much slower too, due to the 512MB of RAM. 1GB is a realistic minimum for today’s creative applications.

The Sovereign Pro’s case is not too impressive either. The silver and grey lines and separate CD player controls are stylish, but the case is huge, clunky, and heavy – and the screen hinge is stiffer than Jeremy Irons’ upper lip. Add in a noisy fan system, an unwelcome floppy drive and an ACi sticker than kept falling off, and we were rather underwhelmed – as we were by the system as a whole.